OMA to host intercultural student reception

GVL/Kevin Sielaff

GVL/Kevin Sielaff

Allison Ribick

The annual Intercultural Student Reception will take place on Sept. 9 in the Grand River room in the Kirkhof Center from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. The event encourages students to engage with faculty and staff, and to explore cultural organizations and clubs on campus.

Hosted by the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the event seeks to broaden students’ knowledge of the opportunities they have to get involved in, and to give them the chance to connect with their community.

Students will travel from table to table to talk with departments and organizations, receiving stamps along the way in their passport booklet. A completed booklet gives students entrance into raffles, where they could win meal cards, iPods, Kindles and Grand Valley State University apparel, among other prizes.

“The event has an environment that’s laid back to allow students to enjoy the moment and let their guard down,” said Bobby Springer, associate director of OMA and coordinator of the event. “Professionals love interacting with students because we want them to be successful. We remember when we were freshmen, and we just want to help guide new students.”

The reception has been a tradition for many years and is an opportunity for students to start off the school year with new contacts in faculty and staff, along with an increased familiarity of the many organizations on campus.

“The beauty of this event is that we know students are connecting with resources,” said Mary Sharp, coordinator of multicultural/diversity services and training counselor. “Once they become familiar with departments and organizations, students begin to create a sense of belonging and find their place at Grand Valley. We know this reduces stress, increases motivation and improves academic performance.”

Cultural organizations and clubs will be present so students can learn their role and impact.

“Students can meet new people and make little sparks that grow into connections and relationships,” Springer said. “They can be a part of something new or (something) they didn’t even know existed before.”

In addition to learning about the cultural resources on campus, there will be games, free food and music. There will also be a dance contest that anyone can participate in, including faculty and staff.

Darrhonda Scott-Jones, office coordinator of the Women’s Center, encourages every student to attend the event.

“It’s a great program,” Scott-Jones said. “It allows students to get to see what other offices are on campus, to get information and to get a chance to see other individuals around campus.”

Sharp, who has gone to the event for multiple years, encourages all students to attend.

“Everyone should come, even if they feel like they are already well connected since you can learn so much and it really is a good time.”